As we know, the Xbox One and the PS4 are coming out right on top of each other; the PS4 arrives November 15th and the Xbox One just a week later. This will mark the first time two major consoles have gone head to head during a holiday season in quite a long time. But when should you buy one… if you should buy one at all?
To figure that out, we’ve assembled a perhaps not-entirely-serious but sincere guide to when you should buy a next-gen system. Here’s when to jump on the bandwagon, and when to stay off.
Really there’s no reason to buy a console between November and December unless you’re one of the console faithful and you’re willing to either wait in a miserable line or just secretly like body-checking people at the mall. Most console release lines are depressing affairs that consist of people looking to quickly flip a box on eBay or lock in a Christmas gift, and during the holidays, people go insane. Stock will be low, probably somewhat artificially, and it’s just not worth it.
New to console gaming? Want to get in the ground floor and have the best experience possible? This is your time. Both the PS4 and the Xbox One will be ramping up their “launch window” games, meaning they’ll be trying to impress new users fairly early on, and there are some neat games coming. Also, you will not have a grandmother thumping you in the balls for the last console, and you won’t experience the grinding disappointment of buying a next-gen console and waiting for Watch Dogs to come out.
The tradeoff is that developers are still experimenting, so games will tend to swing wildly between awesome, nothing new but acceptable, and disasters like Lair. Also, it’s worth noting that you’ll be an unpaid beta tester for any manufacturing problems.
The Holidays 2014
This is when most gamers will be taking stock and seeing what’s out and what’s in the pipeline, and probably when most systems will really start selling. Both consoles will have been on the market for a year, developers will have worked out production pipelines, the major first round of releases will be out, and we’ll know what games are coming in the future. We’ll also know where other consoles like the Steam Machine or the PlayStation Vita TV fits into gaming.
Here’s where we’ll see a second surge, for two reasons. This is about when even Sony and Microsoft will give up even the pretense of supporting the PS3 and the Xbox 360, and if you really want the hot new games, you’re going to need a now current-gen console. It will help that the first games that can really show what each platform can do will arrive, marking games that you actually need a modern console for. Also, for the majority of gamers, scrounging up $400 for a new console is kind of something we have to save for, either because we’re broke students or we have kids to feed.
Your console died and you begrudgingly upgrade. The good news is we’ll probably have seen price drops at this point, and you’ll be able to get on the bandwagon just in time for the three to six years of rumors about a new console, which will probably arrive just in time for you to decide you’re keeping your current console until the damn thing dies. See you in 2023!